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Mock me all you want but I plan to survive the Zombie Apocalypse!

November 20, 2014
by Craftygrrrl
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Zombie Apocalypse Survival Skills part…I don’t know… maybe 5?

Oh, it’s been a while. Late August was the last time I wrote a post. The blog silence wasn’t because I wasn’t crafting, but due to limited acess to the computer. I’ve recently (mostly) sorted out how to post from my tablet, so things should get back to semi-regular posts.

Am not going to bother with a catch-up photo post as I got out of the habit of taking photos of what I was working on and my just listing all the stuff I made would be very, very boring without the visuals. Instead, I’m going to tell you about my adventure a few weekends back as it was recent enough that I can actually remember some of the details…

My Mum and I made what can best be described as our annual trek to The Canadian Canoe Museum in Peterborough for yet another one of their traditional craft workshops or as I like to call them: Ways I Build my Zombie Apocalypse Survival Skills. This year, they offered one of the courses I have been listing on every course feedback form they ask you to fill out for the past 5 years….

SNOWSHOE WEAVING!

When the course was first offered it was on a weekend that my Mum (who is also my ride) was unable to attend, so I was super happy when they offered it again & my Mum was free (I don’t drive & Peterborough is a bit hard to get to via public transit for a weekend course).

We arrived bright & early for our 8:30 am start & once everyone arrived things got moving. The instructors were Dave & Kai owners of Lure of the North, who taught the Winter Moccasin course my Mum & I took about 2 years ago. We were run through the 3 styles of frames they had brought; Huron, Bear Paw & Ojibwe and given the benefits & drawbacks of each design. I did a cursory bit of research about snowshoe designs before going to the workshop and fell down a bit of a rabbit hole as each style is specific to the winter conditions and type of travel they would be used for. The Ojibwe, for example, is best for long treks along open/flat areas as their ski like design will have the person essentially “skiing” along the snow.

302Mum went with a traditional Huron frame to replace the pair my Grandad had that were lost. I chose the Bear Paw as I preferred the smaller frame size & it is the best design if you are tromping through wooded areas as you are less likely to end up bridging & snapping your shoe between two logs. Also, unlike the long tailed models, you can back up with the Bear Paw as the weight is evenly distributed & the back end won’t get stuck in the snow. For klutzy me, these are all important factors.

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Snowshoes were woven with rawhide that was specifically treated to withstand the rigours of snowshoeing. The processing of rawhide for specific uses is a complete post unto itself that would really only be of interest to me & various experimental archeologists, so we shall move along… My point being, all the commercially processed rawhide that is on the market now is not of a high enough quality to be used on snowshoes that will be used for actual snowshoeing. If you are looking to fulfill your Rustic Cabin Chic decor, go wild & use the crap rawhide….

Good rawhide being non-existant, we were given the choice of 150lb fish line or nylon webbing. The fish line was harder on your hands to weave, but would not require maintenance when complete. The nylon was way easier on the hands when weaving, but would require yearly applications of varnish which is the same treatment for rawhide woven snowshoes. Only two of the classmates chose the fish line. After watching them struggle with it I was glad I went with the nylon webbing.

With our frame & weave material chosen, we all got down to business.

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By the end of day one, everyone was a bit achey from working hunched over our frames.

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Day  two went much faster & I had completed my snowshoes by mid afternoon.

321Other than 2 errors I noticed after I was done, I am super chuffed with my snowshoes. I need some more varnish to finish them off, then  I am all set for what I have heard will be a snowy winter!

Dave & Kai had some of their other DIY kits for sale, I may have come home with a little something to keep me busy while I wait for the snow to get deep enough to use my snowshoes…

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August 19, 2014
by Craftygrrrl
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I have an as yet to be named new to me bike!

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She’s an early 1970s/late 1960s Raleigh Superbe 3spd. Made in Nottingham, England but found her way to me via kijiji.ca. She was purchased by the previous owner at the Trinity Bellwoods vintage bike show & sale (7th photo down in the post is a picture of my Superbe!) Dandyhorse also has a nice article about the show, one year I hope to actually remember in time to book that day off work! So, after a week of commuting the previous owner found this was not the right bike for her. I can so totally relate to that! Finding your perfect bike is a tricksy business, especially if you are new-ish to bikes. You can read all the reviews, press releases, fancy bike blogs and test ride until your arse is black & blue, but none of that will give you a true sense of a bike till you have ridden it for longer than the roughly 20 minute ‘round the block test ride you can take at a store. Unfortunately, there isn’t to my knowledge any sort of bike service like this unless you have a super nice friend who is willing to lend you their bike, so we muddle through as best as we can and hopefully learn a few things along the way.

When I first started looking for a bike I was smitten with the look of the English 3spds, but my lack of bike mechanical knowledge at that time led to my incorrectly thinking a new bike would be less hassle as I was learning how to negotiate city riding…this turned out not to be the case. As with all things, in hindsight, I should have just bought a damn vintage Raleigh from the get go!

Since that first Trek loop-frame bike with the front shocks & 26 gears, I have run through a series of bikes as it took me a while to figure out what I like in a bike. Road bikes, I discovered, are definitely out!  The riding posture is all wrong for me & I feel rather vulnerable on those thin tyres. (By the by, if you know anyone looking to buy a vintage road bike, I have a Norco Avanti that could use a home that will appreciate it!) Through a process of elimination, I discovered I like a nice lugged step-over frame bike with a 3-6 speed internal hub & rear rack for my panniers that allows me to sit comfortably, see where I am going & by consequence allow the observant motorist (yes that is a dig!) see me. In a nut shell, a vintage English 3spd has what I want. These bikes are amazingly stable due to their weight (not too heavy or too light) and a very sturdy build! Like English vintage cars, their mechanics are particular yet straight forward in their maintenance. The Sturmey-Archer internal hub does require a little bit of thought when shifting gears;  you need to stop pedaling, shift gears, then start pedaling again. Not sure why, my Dad could explain it, all I know is that’s how you do it unless you want to rebuild/replace your internal hub.

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My as yet to be named bike is in pretty much original condition (the tyre pump is not stock & am uncertain about the headlamp), she has a few scratches on the paint, but for a 40+year old bike, she rides better than the modern 3spds of  similar design. The grips will need to be replaced & I have already ordered a set of new/old stock (NOS) or what is sometimes called “dead stock” grips via Ebay. The Superbe came with a dynohub that powers a front headlamp & rear light. The electric wires & rear light are missing so I am currently on the hunt. Although, I wonder if my Dad doesn’t have something suitable squirreled away…&  yes, this fascination with English built modes of transportation is most likely a genetic condition of which my Dad & I both suffer, but really let’s be honest, we don’t see it as a fault & it’s our respective partners who are probably the ones suffering by having to put up with us!

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While giving the bike the once over for any serious damage, I noticed the front wheel lock…with the key snapped off in it! Drag! A quick perusal of youtube provided me with a few “how to remove a snapped key” videos & ebay pointed me to a seller in England with NOS blank keys from the Raleigh factory which he can cut to fit the lock! I just have to send him the serial number stamped on the side of the lock! How cool is that?!

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I might add a Handbag Hugger to the front instead of a basket. They just make more sense, look classic & don’t throw off the steering like fully loaded front baskets can. The saddle which is original, is quite cracked so I have replaced it with a similar style saddle I had in the garage.

Vintage English 3 spd bikes have quite a few advocates online, the most well know is Sheldon Brown who sadly died in February 2008. His website, which is still being maintained is an amazing wealth of information for the care & maintenance of your English 3spd along with other cycling information. He was also a huge fan of the Raleigh Twenty  and wrote extensively about them too! Lovely Bicycle has a great review about the Superbe and even more importantly she has a brilliant post with advice for buying a bike on a budget. I recommend reading that post if you are considering buying a bike, as you will end up with a far better quality bike by following her $.02 than if you were to buy a modern 3spd bike.

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July 24, 2014
by Craftygrrrl
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Multi-Craftual

I need to keep my hands busy…mainly to keep me from placing them around certain people’s necks & squeezing till their eyes bug out…Suffice it to say with the Summer Holidays and currently all 4 of us in our 750sqft house I’ve been keeping myself quite busy.

The frantic sewing pace I had going for a while has slowed down as other projects took over.

The months started with Tour De Fleece (yes, I know that is a 5 year old link, all organizing of Tour de Fleece has now moved to the Ravelry forums) prep. I have a rather large collection of batts and braids of hand dyed or hand blended fibers and decided it was high time to deal with them. Before I started spinning, I needed to find a pattern to use up as much of the eventual yarn as possible. I figured an afghan was a good idea, but didn’t want to have to lug around a massive bit of knitting! I needed small bits of knitting that would later be seamed together. May I present The Barn Raising “Quilt”. I’m not at all concerned with the squares being symmetrical.

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After 2 weeks of near constant spinning, I was running out of space for all the singles I had spun as well as bobbins. I am currently waiting on the delivery of a bulky flyer and some extra bobbins for my wheel so I can continue to the second stage of the process by turning the singles into 2 ply yarns or possibly Navajo plying to keep the long colour repeats in some of the fiber.

As I wait for the delivery, it’s going to be a bit as my local-ish spinning supply store (Gemini Fibres) are on vacation…So I moved along to another project… crochet.

Cal Patch has recently put out a crochet rag rug tutorial video on Creative Bug which was well timed as I had a lot of left over fabric scraps from my sewing binge.

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I worked on the rug for about a week…then had to stop as my right wrist & shoulder were SCREAMING at me. Clearly the previous two weeks of spinning and the week of crochet had not been ergonomically correct…Stretches were done, things are less stiff and the rug was ripped out to be given a new life as a woven rag rug.

The floor loom was dusted off, a warp was wound off, then I lost the cross while warping the loom…a frustrating learning experience…One cannot have too many ties on their warp! The kids acted as Loom Minions and helped me get a very arsed up warp onto the loom and then I was off…

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Abi even asked to be shown how the floor loom worked!

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My progress on the rag rug was briefly interrupted yesterday by Liam having a play date…3 boys between the age of 6-8 don’t need strict supervision, but a parental presence in the room acts as a deterrent for the occasional wild idea. Thankfully, the rigid heddle loom was in the living room where the boys were playing and it had a very near complete project on it. I say “Had” as I was able to finish the Rothko shawl. This was the painting that inspired it.

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I woke up this morning filled with a bunch of ideas for more weaving projects which will also help in getting the assorted stashes of fiver & fabric under control and give my shoulder a nice break…

 

 

July 14, 2014
by Craftygrrrl
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I was going to post a well overdue crafting post as there has been a lot of that going on, but something way more thrilling happened around here just this afternoon…

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LIAM IS ON TWO WHEELS!!

This has been a while in the making. Last Summer we bought him a bike that came with training wheels and he was alternating between “getting it” and being thoroughly frustrated by biking.  This Spring after being teased by a friend (the little jerk!) about still having training wheels on his bike he asked for them to be removed. One fall was all it took for him to decided he didn’t want to learn to ride. I didn’t push the issue, so he found himself scootering along the side walk to school while Abi & I rode our bikes on the road, which frustrated him even more as we could go faster but he refused to ride his bike without the training wheels being put back on.

Instead of putting the training wheels back on, I removed the pedals from his bike, essentially turning his bike into one of those expensive balance bikes. We spent about 2 hours TOTAL putting around the block while Liam figured out his balance, then he asked for the pedals to be put back on…and then he was off…

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He is still a bit wobbly when stopping and starting, but spent a good bit of time riding up and down our street, gaining in confidence then rode around the block.

 

 

May 21, 2014
by Craftygrrrl
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Things at Gauhaus are…trying right now…But as I understood one of my Great Grans was to often say, “At least you have you’re health…”, I will also add “and my craft stash, because crafting is what is keeping me between the ditches right now.”

Often when a crafting friend is going through a rough patch the rest of us will ask if they have easy access to cashmere yarn. We don’t ask to take the piss, it’s because we all know that crafting/making is a stress reducer and the meditative effects of  making help us to often come up with solution we wouldn’t have necessarily thought of.  Even CNN has cottoned on to the benefits so, as things are a bit nutty here I’ve found myself on quite the run of making things.

Once the kids are off to school and the chores are done, I have about 3-4 hours of free time on my days off & I have been taking full advantage of that time in front of my sewing machine. Two-ish weeks ago I banged out 4 dresses in a week using a production line process that would have put a smile on Henry Ford’s face. I don’t actually recommend this approach to sewing as I was very much sick of the sight of my machine by the time I had snipped the threads off Dress#4.

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The Dala horse dress is my favourite!

I used The Staple Dress pattern for all 4 dresses, I love this pattern! I didn’t shirr the waists as I can never get it right & end up with a misplaced waist, I also prefer shift style dresses which gives me a bit of flexibility to wear them over jeans or belt them for a fitted look. The only other modification I make is to place the pockets down about an inch from where the  pattern wants them. Most of the dresses have already seen some wear & I have received lots of compliments on them.

A bit of a weaving break happened after this. I warped up the Flip loom with some Wellington Fibers yarn I picked up at the Knitter’s Frolic. After warping, I realized the colors & pattern are a bit Rothko inspired. For the longest time I was not a fan of Rothko until I stumbled across a biography of him which totally changed my perspective & I rather like his work now.

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The shawl is mostly done, I probably need another hour or two to finish it, but I have been distracted by a few more dress patterns & some Frida Kahlo inspired fabric…

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Yeah…They are just gorgeous! The fabric on the right is what prompted the search for a new dress pattern as I want the 14” tall line of Frida’s along the hem. I knew what pattern I wanted to use, but the fact that it was ALL IN JAPANESE had me a bit nervous, but I needed a challenge to keep my mind from obsessing about everything else that was going on so I tracked down a copy of the pattern book and got to work figuring this all out because this is the pattern page I had to work with:

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Once I had sussed out which pieces I needed, I traced them using Swedish Tracing paper (Love this stuff!) and eventually made a wearable muslin since I didn’t want to mess up my lovely Frida fabric. The dress came together quite quickly considering I made some brainless errors & had to rip a few seams out to resew. I am pleased with it but will make some adjustments to the length of the top before I use the Frida fabric as it comes a bit short on me.

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The blue fabric will be used to make Made By Rae’s new Bianca pattern, which I will lengthen to just below my knees.

This manic burst of productivity has been really, really helpful in keeping me level while life stuff is being sorted out and perhaps one of these craft sessions will result in the perfect solution, but until then I will keep at the stitches.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

April 24, 2014
by Craftygrrrl
0 comments

Due to some computer issues (read: it died a fast & furious death. We barely got the files we wanted off it) posting came to a dead stop and now I am so very behind I am seriously considering not trying to play catch up…but then again, this is precisely the time when photo heavy posts are good.

I was on quite a sweater roll for the first bit of the year, it has since dried up like the Sahara…not sure what happened, perhaps it was indecision or the never ending grind of this winter sucking the life out of me either way, it took a bit to find a few projects that I didn’t lose interest in.

January was the MadTosh Golden Wheat Cardi which has seen A LOT of wear, mainly at work where the non knitters I work with were duly impressed that it was handmade. You could almost see the thought process of “that’s really nice, I had no idea patterns like that were available….hmmmm perhaps I should try knitting?”. I still need to get a decent photo of me wearing it.

In February, I knit Strokkur. I’ve been a little obsessed with Iceland for the past few years & hope to visit (or just move there) one day…until such time I will have to occupy myself with knitting Lopapeysa’s…Strokkur is knit using the lighter Lett Lopi which makes for a less bulky sweater than you would get with AlafossLopi (love this yarn too!)

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There is one project I am slowly chipping away at, but as it’s a gift so photos will not be happening. Have no idea when it will be done, but the plan is for Christmas…hopefully before then. This is the yarn pile for it…it’s ALL FINGERING WEIGHT I will be knitting it forever!

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My current transit project is coming along nicely & would be further along if I remembered my headphones more often. I like to listen to audio books and podcasts, specifically CraftLit (it’s the perfect combination of podcast & audiobook) during my commute. This is mainly to prevent people from trying to chat me up, asking how much I would charge to make (fill in the blank) for them or my personal favourite: “why are you wasting your time making something you can just buy for $10”  (answer: because I’m a better person than you are!) during the only time I can sit, knit & listen to a few chapters without interruption by kids, chores or dog.

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Pattern: From Afar

Yarn: Handmaiden Bess

Colourway: possibly Cedar? the labels never list the colour name.

I did manage to finally cast of a near year old project. I have named it “Your Mum Thinks Your Girlfriend Sucks”

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Pattern: Color Affection

The yarn: A sampling of Indigodragonfly Sock yarns.

Colourways: Tiny Bloodsucking Dancer, Sailor Bait: The Official Lipstick of the 2012 Walk of Shame & Slutty Thursday Afternoon Things.

My plan is to get back into a semi regular schedule of updating things, we’ll see how long this lasts…

 

 

 

February 7, 2014
by Craftygrrrl
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Two weeks ago I cast off my Golden Wheat Cardi, ends were sewn in & the sweater was blocked…and then it sat for some time because I didn’t have any suitable buttons…not quite sure how that happened, but there you are. Panicked, I tossed my button bag (realized how non-traditional a button bag was & remedied to fix that!) & came up empty, but did stop to admire my collection of buttons. My preference is for handmade either wooden or porcelain buttons as well as vintage. My parents are very good at keeping an eye out at antique shops & boot sales for sets for me. I am also trying to find out what happened to both my Granmas button jars…

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I searched Etsy, where I found & ordered some lovely vintage buttons,

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but they wouldn’t work with my new cardi. The search continued…luckily Toronto has a Fashion District, sadly it’s not as awesome as it once was, but there is a button store on the South West corner of Spadina & Queen St W. It’s about 4-ish doors west of Spadina and they only take cash (this is important!). It’s a small store but they are packed floor to ceiling with boxes of buttons amongst whom I found some suitable options…

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As I’ll mostly be wearing this at work, I went with the solid black buttons (even though the big hot pink ones were my preferred choice) as I have a Uniform Policy I need to comply with.

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Please excuse the less than stellar loo shot, but my attempt to take the photo in one of the beautiful Art Nouveau mirrors in the European Decorative Arts gallery at work turned out terribly fuzzy

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...and am certain the Gallery Guard was wondering what on earth I was doing , then remembered it was me, so carried on with his rounds…

Once I had my botton situation all sorted, I decided that it was high time I followed that long tradition of having a proper button tin. These tins should be an old Quality Street or Shortbread tin, Mason jars are also acceptable. Fortunately, I picked up a tin of Quality Street over the holidays & after dumping out the leftover Orange & Strawberry cremes (seriously! who eats them?! they are as bad as those Violet Pastilles blegh!) I gathered all my buttons & discovered…I need a second tin already…

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Point of editorial clarity: It appears I was dead wrong about the origins of my Maternal Great Grandmother. My parents called shortly after I wrote my last post to politely enquire which Nan came from Yorkshire then proceeded to explain that I was very wrong. Nan Richardson (nee Perrot sp?) was from Melksham, Wiltshire. Which for those of you with a far superior grasp of the counties of England will know is not even remotely close to Yorkshire & is in fact in the South of England…however my Mum has discovered in her pursuit of the family tree that Nan’s father was imprisoned for sheep stealing (more than likely to feed his large family) which is probably the event that led to my Nan coming to Canada to work as a Domestic at the age of 12 as a Home Child through the Bernardo Homes in England. This particular chapter of history is an interesting and sad one, it speaks volumes about Victorian English society and how they viewed the poor. I could go on for a fairly long time about my opinions of Industrial era child labour, the soul destroying work houses and the arrogance of the upper classes who “knew what the poor needed to set themselves straight”, but that was not the original intention of this…

Side note: In 2009 Australian PM Kevin Rudd & in 2010 British PM Gordon Brown issued formal apologies to the remaining child migrants (home children) & their descendants for the abuses which were suffered & the families separated & tossed to the corners of the Colonies. The Canadian Minister of Immigration Jason Kenny, did not issue a formal apology…we can all guess what I think of him!

January 15, 2014
by Craftygrrrl
1 Comment

I was looking for a great literary quote that would completely sum up my sentiments about starting a new year, but I was unable to locate one in the 10 minutes I spent looking. Had I decided to spend an entire day in research, I more than likely would have found something suitable, but there are things to knit, kids to raise, dinners to make & people to see…In short my time is too precious to spend that way. We move forward as really what else can you do? Crying over the proverbial spilled milk will not change the fact that you have a puddle to clean up, all you can do is get out the cloth, take the time to wipe it up properly so as not to have your house smell like sour milk then put on your coat & go buy another jug of milk. Times like this I am quite convinced my maternal Great Nan’s personality creeps through the genetic stew that is me. She was, from all I have heard a practical Yorkshire woman who took everything in stride. But enough of the family history….  On to the Plans for 2014!

I had hoped to put out the plans earlier than mid-January, but time being what it is…anywhoo, I find if I publicly announce what I want to do this year someone (most likely my Mum) will hold me to the plans in that polite way that Mum’s have of motivationally enquiring what you are up to. (I’ve discovered this trait is starting to take form in myself)

Chris & I (alright me!) are finally at the end of our tether with the kitchen & have found a design which we both like. While perusing the internets for some DIY decor ideas, I came across this pantry redo and was rather taken with it. Chris liked it too so we have started the process of cleaning out the kitchen of useless crap, figuring out paint colours, building a budget, taking careful measurements all in preparation of starting work in April. Why April you ask? If one is going to be sanding, painting & in general creating  a holy hell of a dusty mess, it’s best if this can be done when one can open the windows & air the place out. I am terribly excited to start this project & Chris is terrified everytime he comes home from work that I may have taken the sledge to things for an early start.

As for the craft side of things I am working to clear the decks of some long lingering projects. Later this week I will reorganize the Girl Cave, locate all the lingering WIPS & make the decision to either keep & finish the project or rip it out & salvage the yarn for something else. My parents have each asked for a jumper be knit which will help with some further wrangling of the Stash. There will also be some purging of the Stash…a few years back I thought I was a sock knitter…I am not, but I do know some one who is & some of my sock yarns will go to her.

As for the current projects, I somehow won 150$ gift certificate to a place of my choice through my work, I chose yarn…

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Pattern: Golden Wheat Cardi

Yarn: MadelineTosh Chunky in Victorian Gothic

I am hoping to be done this cardi some time this week.

My travel project:

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Pattern: Rikke with a few modifications

Yarn: Cephalopod Traveller in Gallifrey

I picked up this skein at Rhinebeck last Fall. I love this colour & would really like a sweater’s worth, but that will have to wait!

And then there is the sewing…

I continue to be inspired by Sonya Philip’s 100 Acts of Sewing project, I am working at:

1 – Shrinking my wardrobe, I do not need ALL THE CLOTHES!

2 – Making my own clothing either from a pattern or up-cycling thrifted clothes

3 – Reclaiming a personal style – I am more than a little done with the Frumpy Mummy uniform & the “I look just like everyone else” realization that tends to come with buying from the chain stores.

4 – When I need to buy a piece of clothing, follow my Paternal Grandmother’s advice: Buy well made, classic lines & natural fibers (okay that last one is my rule) also buy the best shoes you can afford that can be resoled, your feet will thank you for years to come!

4a. Look first to indi/local designers first.

Sonya Philip also released her  Dress No.2 pattern a few weeks back.  I eagerly ordered the pattern & took advantage of a fabric sale. Three new dresses are in the works…

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The final plan for the year is to just be. It’s a bit granola munchy for me, but it’s true, I have been working hard on not having expectations & just enjoying the time I get to spend with my people.

January 2, 2014
by Craftygrrrl
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2013 was a year that could just suck it! Although it was not terribly nasty by comparison to other people’s 2013, it was still a test of my patience & dark humour when things went right into the shitter.

It started on January 3rd with our washer dying & the repair cost being the same as a new washer. For 2 months while we saved to buy a replacement, I hauled our laundry to the laundromat around the corner in my grocery buggy. Pro Tip: get to the laundry by 9am & all the machines are yours!

There was the death of Chris’ Grandma, a few trips to the ER with Liam and assorted other tiny & big annoyances that ended with a case of lice, a huge ice storm & large portions of Toronto without power for days. We were fortunate to have our power back by morning of Christmas Eve, but there were still families who 10+ days later were still  in the dark.

Throughout everything, I channeled my Great Nan’s ability to overcome, kept reminding myself it could be way worse, focused on the bright spots & crafted to stay sane as we soldiered on. The crafting to stay sane proved to be a fairly decent plan as I think this year saw my highest production levels in years! Annoyed with the offerings for ladies fashion and having finally lost the last dregs of the baby weight, I made 7 dresses this summer & a tunic on Christmas day! At least four sweaters for me were completed, a few shawls, lots of hats, there was some weaving and stuff for the kids (not that they actually wore them after asking for said item to be made!). This flurry of activity may be the reason for the complete lack of decent photos of any of my completed projects. This year I should show Abi how to use the DSLR to help me take photos.

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Rhinebeck happened, some new tattoos were added, the kids learned & grew closer to the type of humans I will be proud of. I saw my people (but not often enough) and made it to the Royal Fleece Auction for the first time in 5 years. There were days where I lost it and very much wanted to pack it all in to piss off to Harris & Lewis to become a croft weaver for Harris Tweed and there were days where I couldn’t imagine being anywhere else. So 2013 was survived & even enjoyed in some parts. Now I’m looking over the next year & figuring it out…

 

November 12, 2013
by Craftygrrrl
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Five long years…

The second week of November is one of my favourite weeks of the year. The insanity of getting kids back to school, 3 birthdays in 6 weeks, Thanksgiving & Halloween are behind us, we’ve had a brief moment to relax & finally settled into a solid routine…and The Royal Winter Fair opens! As the advert says, “for one week, the country comes to the city” & I couldn’t be happier!


The Royal is one of my happy places. As a kid, my parents would take us each year, we would wander around looking at all the animals & displays. I have a vague memory of asking my Dad to trade in our herd of Hereford for some Jersey cows (I thought they were super pretty with those big brown eyes) and to get a few goats...he refused to discuss the possibility of goats, I am of the opinion he has some sort of childhood goat trauma of which we do not speak. At the end of the trip, my sister & I would be treated to a candy apple (can’t remember if my brother got one or not, have vague recollection he didn’t care for them & chose something else) then we would head home.


Now that I have kids, I make a point of taking them every year and they seem to enjoy it as much as I did as a kid, especially as there was a mechanical bull this year…wpid-20131110_122113.jpg


Abi stayed on for 45 seconds before flying off


The kids have finally realized the simple joy that is a peameal sandwich with mustard.


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Liam has taken up my earlier position of asking for livestock. Where I harassed my Dad for cows & goats, Liam wants rabbits! Specifically Flemmish Giants! Can’t say I disagree with him….there was a black Flemmish for sale & I was sorely tempted…


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Abi, on the other hand, is all about the cows & sheep…


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She was quite beside herself when we found the set of triplet lambs!


I was super thrilled to see 9 Sheep to Shawl teams competing this year!


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Building memories, eating tasty food and snapping photos of livestock is not my only reason for going…This is…


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That right there are fleece that have been entered in the Fleece Competition and are auctioned off on the last day of the Fair with the proceeds of the sales going to the 4H club.


It has been 5 long years since I have attended the fleece auction, so I was well due. Chris & the kids left me to my devices & headed home…


Sitting beside Our Denny, with bid cards in hand, things were about to get ugly…good thing the kids left after this photo was taken…


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Our Denny, being of the good sort, appreciates the time & effort that goes into raising a sheep & she came with a plan…a plan that ended with my buying a fleece for $30/lb and another for almost $20/lb… both of these fleece were Shetlands weighing in at no more than 2-3lbs each which is about a sweater quantity. One cannot buy a sweater quantity of pure Shetland Yarn for under $90! Think about that. I remember in the early 1980s when Shepherds were getting fractions of a cent per pound of fleece. We lost a lot of our sheep farms at that time, so if my buying a $90 fleece helps in some small way to support the Shepherds, then I’m totally cool with Our Denny running up the bids on my fleece. Besides the trash talk & stink eye we exchanged each time she did it was hilarious! When I told my Dad about Our Denny bidding up my fleece his response was “Good for her!”


I sent one of my fleece off to Wellington Fibers for processing & the other which is a mixed colour came home with me so I could have another go at processing a fleece myself.


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